The Questionable Science of Chappie

What is the point of making something if it is only going to be destroyed? How far are we willing to go in our technological developments? Is artificial intelligence really a good idea? Will artificial intelligence pass human intelligence at some point in time? These are the questions that “Chappie” attempts to answer. Starring Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver, this movie follows the story of a stolen police droid in a futuristic world. The droid, Chappie, is given new programming that is essentially artificial intelligence. The droid starts off as a “baby” but learns at an accelerated speed.

The artificial intelligence gives Chappie a “brain” which functions much like how a human brain would. Chappie has to learn about how the world works, so when the artificial intelligence program is first given to the droid, it is essentially at the level of a small child.

This gift of AI was not where the film was faulty. Almost anything is possible in a futuristic world, especially if it stays within the bounds of modern science. However, “Chappie” made several jumps that were vastly unrealistic, even in a futuristic world. For one, can AI really be so successful? And is it even possible for AI to develop capabilities that surpass its creators? Shortly after the AI is given to Chappie, he becomes very capable of thinking for himself in a very human-like manner. In the end, Chappie even comes up with ideas on his own, independent of any of the humans that he interacted with, formulating his own science and using computers with a skill that is far above that of most normal people.

The end of the movie was where any semblance of science and natural plot progression disintegrated. Somehow, Chappie manages to figure out how to completely transfer consciousness and map it onto computers. When one person is dying, they take that person’s consciousness and transfer it into a droid. This is a totally unrealistic jump, considering at the beginning of the movie they had just created true artificial intelligence capable of thinking and feeling for itself. To be able to totally transfer someone’s consciousness is a huge step to take.

“Chappie” obviously brings up a lot of questions about our future with technology. It is very thought-provoking and brings up many valid points. However, the computing and science aspect is a little bit questionable. The special effects are really well done and the integration between humans and technology is very realistic. It does get violent at times, and some of the scenes are far more gory than they need to be. The movie questions whether or not we really want to live in a world where droids and humans interact side by side with comparable levels of intelligence.

Erica Dettmer-Radtke is a senior at Mines. She is editor in chief of The Oredigger. Erica is a Statistics major and came to Mines from Boulder, CO. In her spare time, while not studying or working on the paper, she enjoys being outside, reading, photography, and cooking.

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